PM Harper’S Constituency

Posted on Monday, February 27 at 11:03 by robertjb
Governments announce policy, but they also send out signals and we would be wise to regard the signals this 39th Parliament is already sending out-ones that require an unauthorized Throne Speech. By hiring the nabob of nullity, David Emerson, Harper seems to have an inescapable political death wish. Only weeks ago he was pillorying the Liberals for this very sort of chicanery. He is no sooner elected than he turns around and does the very same thing. He has shown utter contempt for the electorate- but then maybe David Emerson is Harper’s vengeance on the electorate for not granting him a majority. This fits with his peevish nature –but more on that in minute. Emerson has insured his place in history. He will be known as the turncoat cabinet minister who prompted the law (“Emerson’s law”)requiring MPs who change parties to have that change ratified in a by-election. As leader of the opposition the PM established his credentials for peevishness long ago. While many people like to compare the Stronach /Emerson defections they are entirely different. When Stronach tried to discuss issues with Harper she was apparently shunned and consequently came to realize maybe she was in the wrong party. Now after a mere two weeks in his position communications director, William Stairs has been fired by the Prime Minister. He, like Stronach, apparently tried to address pertinent issues. It was barely a year ago there was a mass exodus of senior staff from Harper’s office. Stairs successor, Sandra Buckler, had better be keeping her UI premiums up to date. Peevishness is a trait not to be ignored in any leader. Many on the world stage, past and present, have allowed it to be a factor in creating policy with disastrous results. It is no coincidence that Jean Charest is the first provincial premier to visit 24 Sussex Drive. The PM is beholding to Quebec to guard his political flank, but giving that province everything it wants also fits with his ideology of provincial supremacy. One can only wonder if Harper has thought out where provincial supremacy ends and sovereignty for Quebec begins. When does federalism die and a dysfunctional balkanization begin? The breathtaking convolutions of Canadian politics are such that Stephen Harper led a Western separatist party, the Reform, of which Brian Mulroney was the unwitting founding father. In trying to placate Quebec separatists with the Meech Lake Accord and then the Charlottetown Accord Mulroney’s mismanagement of federalism also created the BQ. During his tenure Mulroney was scornfully referred to as “the Prime Minister of Quebec”- such was his preoccupation with that province- Western alienation in turn sky rocketed and resulted in the formation of the Reform party. In short, Mulroney mismanaged both his political flanks-the West and Quebec- and destroyed the Progressive Conservative Party in the process. Now PM Harper, Mulroney’s conservative successor, quite a few convolutions later, also runs the risk of becoming in the eyes of the rest of Canada, “the Prime Minister of Quebec”. Is it possible we might see the rebirth of the Reform, as the Rereformed or; the Alliance as the Dalliance? The success of any Canadian prime minister is measured in large part by their ability to manage regional disparity-our asymmetrical federalism- a daunting task at the best of times. Mulroney had two majority governments at his disposal; Harper must do so with a weak minority. While Quebec will be a predominate constituent, the overwhelming presence of the US will be even more so. It is no secret the Conservative Party of Canada is more neo-conservative than conservative- Red Toryism has been stabbed through the heart. Harper’s conservatives have a strong affinity for US Republicanism and they are now in a position to exercise this dubious attraction. Where the Liberals were practicing Deep Integration this 39th Parliament will no doubt be pursuing XXX Deep Integration. One of the PMs first overseas trips apparently will be to visit Afghanistan where Canadian troops are in a combat role. Afghanistan has an ominous history for any country sending troops there. For the former USSR it was a long and costly war, fought on their very door step war which they eventually lost –their Viet Nam. The US attacked Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and apprehend Al Qaeda terrorists, but left the job incomplete as it became preoccupied with Iraq. As it pursues global hegemony the US is in a state of imperial overreach. Its military and financial capabilities are stretched to the limit. It must therefore lean on its allies, especially the NATO countries, Canada for one, to become mercenaries in helping it achieve its neo-imperial ambitions. Under the Liberals there has been a blending of our armed forces-as part of deep integration- with US forces, such that their wars automatically become our wars. This blending is especially pertinent in that the US now has a stated policy of continuous and preemptive warfare. This propensity for warfare might be justified if it weren’t for the fact that the US is playing a very nefarious game- It is overstating and amplifying the capabilities of its enemies to justify its aggressive global agenda. As one pundit observed- What if the US had to deal with an enemy with real capabilities? It is using a sledge hammer to swat flies and exhausting itself in the process- the military industrial complex is running amok under the leadership of maverick US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Canada cannot ignore the human and economic costs of being party to serial global conflicts. The Bush administration is indulging in profligate spending, record debt and deficit to finance its foreign adventurism. There is no indication this spending is going to abate as even now Iran is being targeted as the next theatre for war. Its foreign creditors are no doubt getting nervous, and it might be reminded that excessive military spending was a key factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US has also developed a neurotic obsession with homeland security and Canada is under excruciating pressure to follow in lockstep. Hurricane Katrina, oddly enough, was a stunning indictment of the failure of home land security. In spite of billions of dollars in increased spending and massive reorganization the US Department of Homeland Security was ill-prepared to deal with a natural disaster that mimicked the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Even now the US Congress is finding that billions of dollars have been squandered on homeland security, and it is already well established fact that billions more were misappropriated in the war on Iraq. As expected Canada’s new defense minister, Gordon O’Connor, has announced he is willing to re-open the issue of ballistic missile defense. Ballistic missile defense has been summarized as hitting bullets with bullets and experts within the US Military say the technology is at least twenty years in the future, if then. The cost will be measured not in billions of dollars but in tens of billions spent over a protracted period of time to subdue phantom enemies yet to be manufactured-stay tuned! The US is bankrupting itself exercising a fraudulent international adventurism. For Canada to be drawn further into such fraudulence as ballistic missile defense is utter insanity. The issue is richly deserving of a quick unceremonious burial. The Harper regime has promised to lower the GST by 2%. In the face of the demands now being made by the US on Canada this becomes a humorless absurdity. The degree to which Canada, under the Harper government, co-operates with the US in its reckless neo-imperialism will in turn impose an onerous tax/debt burden on Canada to match the one already being imposed on Americans. In its 2006 budget the Bush administration expanded military and homeland security budgets at the expense of already under-funded social programs-in short the homeland is being gutted to finance foreign adventurism. The third constituency competing for the PM’s attention is the “Rest of Canada”- a term that harks back to the constitutional wars of the Mulroney era. It is the most benign, disjointed and least vociferous of the three constituencies- the mostly silent majority. In the present milieu where there are tremendous forces reshaping this country and possibly even finally extinguishing it, the Rest of Canada has the most to lose; but Quebec in its separatist aspirations should be cautioned, absenting itself from the Rest of Canada could have a huge downside. The Rest of Canada registers its dissent in often vague and obscure ways; most recently in this last election it threw out the Liberals and denied the Conservatives a majority –epochal political wisdom. In 1965 Canadian philosopher George Grant published his benchmark book, “Lament for a Nation”. He makes convincing arguments why Canada cannot exist as a nation because of our proximity to the US. As a “local culture” we are bound to be overwhelmed by the exigencies of empire and modernity. To maintain our sovereignty requires the exercise of socialism and nationalism, but these are counter to the age of progress-an opened ended liberalism driven by a free market economy. Grant comments on how successive Liberal governments have willingly presided over the demise of Canadian sovereignty. Despite Grant’s dire prediction and the pragmatism of our political elites Canada the country still persists, though admittedly with a vastly diminished sovereignty since Grant’s time. At the time Grant wrote the US was undeniably “the spearhead” of progress. To blindly emulate the US and its values and success was then somewhat defensible, but now the US is a very different country. Its values and leadership in the age of post-progress are open to question. Then it was a rising star; now as it resorts to a reckless militarism a wanton disregard for the rule of law and international treaties there should be greater skepticism. Its economic practices are challengeable and its democratic values are in serious erosion. The spearhead has been blunted! Canada has a new government that sees itself as acolyte to The Empire-one on the verge of implosion. It is sending out ominous signals. Its agenda is predictable and which of its three constituencies; Quebec, the US, and the Rest of Canada, are going to be showered with its beneficence, and which is going to be sacrificed, is too easily predictable. Canada deserves a truer more enlightened and less dogmatic conservatism resisting expediencies that are clichéd and ultimately ruinous both nationally and internationally. But this is not to be the case. The conservative leader has closed many a speech with the words “God Bless Canada”, but in his heart of hearts he was saying “God Bless America”. His party’s slogan in the election was “Stand up for Canada.” But this was nothing more than sloganeering (rhymes with sneering) for this is a government that is angling for a majority at which time they will sell out this country in the wink of an eye, the drop of a hat, or on their own mother’s grave- this being , the subtext to any official speech from the throne.

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  1. by DaveC
    Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:41 pm
    Well written Robert. <br />
    <br />
    The sooner we are rid of this (Mini-me George Bush government the better)<br />
    <br />
    Canadian voters tell him we are not going to put up with this type approach to stealing Canadian voters rights.<br />
    Sign thepetition :<b> <a href=""></a> <b><br />
    <br />
    In the short few weeks we have had this government their true colors are starting to show. Don't care about children, miltary issues in Afghanistan, blissful ignorance of our democratic voting rights, breaching their policy of and elected senate, breaching policy of protecting riding rights to protect democracy in ridings.<br />
    <br />
    Write letters get involved, these guys mean to change a lot in a short period of time. It's time to Stand up Canada and stop canada from becoming the United States of Canada.

  2. Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:40 am
    We just sort of close our eyes and hope for the best....

    "A Liberal is someone who refuses to take his own side in a fight".

    -Robert Frost

  3. Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:10 am
    Because Harper can't be the President of the USA he is acting like the President of Annexation. He "appoints" people, because he can. He sets up a useless Q&A with Rothstein, because he can. He'll try and push Canada back into such huge debt with tax cuts for the rich and subsidizing foreign corporate owners so that the IMF and WTO will have easy access to privatize what's left of anything Canadian, because he can.

    d'Aquino, one of Harper's constituents, was on Politics today getting his unattractive lobbying-self in postition to pry open the taxpayers pockets. He's suggesting that the GST go to the Provinces so they can become more self-sufficient and look after themselves. Get the Feds out of their business.

    It would be so much easier for all those corporate lobbying leeches to work their way into our governments at all levels if it was all split up. So much easier to get their hands on all of our public resources. A pox on their privates.

    "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche

  4. Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:46 am
    I an a worker. I am a tax payer. The government takes its cut of my pay before I even get a chance to see it. They all treat me like they had a court order and I was incapable of managing my own financial affairs because I must have been senile since my first paycheck.
    The rich do not pay taxes, they hire people, sometimes even politicans to make sure of that. The poor do not pay taxes. They organize for better benefits. Sometimes politicans organize them. The middle - the only ones left to pay anything - is fracturing now between those getting in on the entitlement grab and those who are left to pay everybody's elses tab. It is the harbinger of tax revolts to come.
    So called worker friendly parties like the NDP are the worse. Their causes include some pet projects like a pro-immigration, scab worker availability plan that would make a NAFTA lobbiest blush.
    This is not Harper's agenda. It is and it has always been Canada's agenda. And it will be, at least until you've killed that proverbial goose.

  5. Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:10 pm
    A good piece of work - thank you.

    Let me just add, or change, two words in your section on Afghanistan:

    "The US attacked Afghanistan OSTENSIBLY to oust the Taliban and apprehend Al Qaeda terrorists, but left the job incomplete as it became preoccupied with Iraq.

    "As it pursues global hegemony, the US is in a state of imperial overreach. Its military and financial capabilities are stretched to the limit. It must therefore lean on its allies, especially the NATO countries, Canada for one, to become mercenaries (NOT MERCENARIES - MERCENARIES ARE PAID. WE'RE VOLUNTEERS - FREE UNPAID HELPERS)in helping it achieve its neo-imperial ambitions."

    If we wanted to give to charity, we could have found a more worthy recipient than the US. Why are we fighting its war for it, at our own cost???


  6. by Deacon
    Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:02 pm
    Took me a while, but I found an excahange that took place between myself and the local Conservative MP:

    Spot the difference comment: (Sept 19)

    I had a chance to see the new Conservative TV spot.

    It was polished, flashy, and attempted to show Stephen Harper as a leader with vision – the usual things one expects to see in these spots.

    The part of the ad that really got my attention was at the end. They want to make Canada “a country that the world wants to invest in.” Not “a country that people would want to live in” but “a country that the world wants to invest in.”

    So who will they really serve if they get elected? Think about it.

    *************************below is MP Dick Harris’ reply

    Harper attack misleading

    What Mr. Axxxxxxx conviently leaves out in his attempt to discredit Mr. Harper is that the particular ad he mentioned is specifically about Canada’s place in the global economy. In this instance, of course the Conservatives want to make Canada a place that the world wants to invest in. That is crucial to a healthy Canadian economy.

    Perhaps Mr. Axxxxxxx would also like to comment on the Harper Ads that specifically talk about making Canada a better place for seniors, the ads about giving choices for child care, and the ads about making ours streets and communities safer for our families. Oh, and how about the Harper ads committing to publicly funded health care that is delivered in a timely and quality fashion. It serves no purpose to deliberately mislead the readers as Mr. Axxxxxxx has attempted.

    *the below was Originally sent to Citizen editor for editorial posting reply, it was never printed, so I sent it to them BOTH ************************

    Letter to Harris and
    editor begins:

    Hello, my name is Wayne Axxxxxxx, and seeing as my rebuttal
    to your letter has not (at the time of this writing ) been
    printed in the PG Citizen I thought the least I could do
    is send it directly to you.

    Letter in full:

    Re: Harper attack misleading

    My dear Mr. Harris, I fail to see how a simple question can
    be labelled as “misleading”. It was, after all, only a
    question and not a pre-election campaign promise.

    I saw the ad, and felt compelled to submit my observation
    to a public forum where others could read it and consider
    the same possibilities I considered. It never occurred to
    me that you would be so afraid of the voters thinking for

    I was also saddened to see your use of the standard
    political tactic of “attack, denounce, and discredit”
    in your reply. I respected you enough to believe you were
    above such things. The nature of your reply also tells me
    that perhaps my observation was far closer to the truth
    than you would have us believe.

    Come to think of it, your reply also sounded a lot like a
    campaign ad.

    While we’re on that subject: yes, the ads you referred to
    were also run. The two products being marketed in all of
    them were Stephen Harper and the Conservative agenda. And
    yes, the ads made all the right pre-election“commitments” as well. Amazing how when in opposition, regardless of the party, the sky is the limit when it comes to promises that will never be kept. Your calling what I said“misleading”was something I found both amusing and extremely ironic

    I am not sympathetic towards any existing political party.
    It may also please you to know that I have the same lack
    of respect for the current leaders of the other federal
    parties as I do for Mr. Harper. I honestly wish that there
    was one truly worth respecting, but so far none have come

    One last thing Mr. Harris: if others also happen to share
    my jaded, cynical, and “misleading” point of view,
    then you as politicians have only yourselves to blame.


    I took the liberty of sending the entire exchange to friends, and acquaintances across the country, asking for
    their feedback concerning this exchange. These are people
    from various political backgrounds across the Left - Right
    spectrum, and the oddest thing happened.

    They agreed with me, even some conservatives.

    Nice to know I'm not alone.


    Wayne Axxxxxxx
    Prince George

    ******************************** End of my reply sent to both Harris and editor.

    The editor was kind enough to reply.

    MP Harris did not.

    Says a lot, doesn't it?

    And all because I asked one question based on a Consverative pre-election ad.

  7. Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:18 pm
    Dick Harris is also my MP and his name of Dick is well earned.

    A useless, seatwarmer remnant of Preston Manning's Reform CRAP.

    What these economic masterminds are carefully covering up is the sordid fact that when you allow "investors" in your house, you're selling part of it and start paying rent on what you once owned.

    Especially, with the present deregulated money creating system by the banks, no country, society, or person who has assets, needs foreign investment.

    This is an old business law, practiced by all businesses, big and small. Corporations don't invest their own monies, but are borrowing freshly made imaginary capital for the purpose, because they can charge and write off the service costs as "tax deductible business expenses".

    Mr Harris may be to ignorant to know this simple fact, but Harper isn't. He's building lucrative directorships, like Brian Mulroney.

    Ed Deak, Big Lake, unfortunately in Dick Harris's riding.

  8. by Deacon
    Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:10 pm
    Nice to see there's a few people in this area who can think for themselves, and not by into Harris's calculated redneck rhetoric. :)

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